Research in optical materials is rapidly moving towards stable, high-power laser sources emitting in the mid-infrared (mid-IR) region. Despite their promising applications, there are currently not many commercially available lasers for this range of wavelengths (2 μm ‒ 8 μm). One of their main applications is in absorption spectroscopy for the detection of trace gases and atmospheric pollutants: many organic compounds have characteristic mid-IR bands, so the detection in this region is highly selective. There is also great potential for mid-IR lasers in the field of materials processing due to the strong absorption of some polymers in this region. In addition, human skin is a very efficient absorber at 3 μm thanks to a water band, which makes 3-μm lasers a powerful tool for surgery.
One of the first steps towards a commercially viable laser is to characterise the emission properties of the gain medium, which requires a spectrometer with detection in the mid-IR. Edinburgh Instruments mid-IR fluorescence spectrometers are currently used by leading scientists around the world to advance the research in laser materials.
One of Edinburgh Instruments’ mid-IR fluorescence spectrometers is in the Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics (China). Here, materials for solid-state mid-IR lasers such as rare earth-doped silicate or Cr,Fe:ZnSe have been successfully developed with help from an FLSP920 Spectrometer.
Near-IR lasers with emission near to 2 μm are also of great interest in medical imaging. Recently, a promising material with ~ 1.8 μm emission has been reported by the Changchun University of Science and Technology (China), also using an FLSP920 from Edinburgh Instruments.
Edinburgh Instruments offers an extensive range of IR detectors to characterise the spectra and lifetime of IR-emitting materials, with options to suit all budgets. The FLS980 spectrometer offers InGaAs detectors with cut-off wavelengths of 1.65 μm, 2.05 μm and 2.55 μm, InAs detectors (3.1 μm) and InSb (5.5 μm) detectors; as well as InGaAs detector arrays. The FS5 Spectrofluorometer has the NIRA+ option, covering up to 1650 nm.
As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of state-of-the-art fluorescence spectroscopic instrumentation, we pride ourselves in being able to meet the most demanding research and technical requirements.